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We're Off to Cyprus! | Penniless Parenting

February 11, 2024
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We're so excited! The family and I are off on our trip to Cyprus - our second trip together abroad - the last one was in December of 2019! I went abroad last March of 2020 and I really have missed the enjoyment and soul nourishment of my trips abroad. 

To get ready for our trip I bought 3 carry on size suitcases- though we can take 5 on the plane the car we're renting can only hold 3 in the trunk. I shopped around until we found the cheapest place and am happy with our choice.

I decided to try to save money converting money to Euros. To save on the money changing fee change places take, I asked on our local WhatsApp group if anyone had euros they wanted to change and people did, so I converted cash to Euros that way.

I had 2 big snafus regarding the trip that I wanted to share that are costing me extra.

I ordered a car through an online price comparison website to rent from a car rental company while we were there.... For 85 euros. And another 50 Euros for extra insurance. And then closer to the time I took a look at the rental and saw that you needed to leave a deposit with the rental company. 

I did a double take. That might be a problem.

See, for various reasons having to do with divorce proceedings, my local international credit card was cancelled. And I only have a local debit card. I also have a bank account in the US with a debit card. Recently (as of about 6 months ago) I ordered my first credit card, so I could build some American credit, since I had absolutely no credit score having lived all my adulthood abroad and never having a credit card. But because it is my first card there is a 500 dollar monthly limit on my credit card.

I called up the car company because I realized that might be a problem if the deposit they needed was larger than 500 dollars. And it was. For a deposit they put a 600 Euro hold on the credit card which you get back when you return the car whole. No, you can't use a debit card for that. No, you can't leave a cash deposit (as I had read on a website that you could which is why at first I didn't think there would be a problem.) It didn't matter to the company that I didn't have a credit card, that not letting me use a cash deposit would mean me canceling my order... So I did. This really really made me upset, because when divorce related things cause me to lose money or cause unnecessary hardship in my life it triggers me a lot. But I got through it and decided to find solutions, even if they cost more money....

I thought about whether we'd be able to manage without a car and concluded that it wouldn't be manageable, that it would really ruin the trip, so I decided to call around to different car rental companies in Larnaca, where we would be flying. The first place I called said that the deposit for the tiniest car is 450 Euro and the small car is 600. And I could leave a deposit in cash. Only rental would be 120 euros.... At least I had options. And for extra insurance it would be an additional 30 Euros.

Another company I called took only 100 Euros cash as a deposit... But if I remember correctly it cost 130 euros and 10 euros a day for insurance. 

Finally I called another company and they had rental cars for between 80 and 100. And they required no deposit as long as they took 10 euros a day for extra insurance. And they didn't require a credit card at all and could be paid for in cash. Amazing. I wanted to make sure there were no catches and they reassured me that that was it. I didn't go with the cheapest car so we'd have a bit more room. Opal Corsa Auto instead of a Nisan Micra. It was 100 Euros. And with insurance it will be a total of 180 euros. 50 Euros more than the original cost. Oh well. Such is life.

Problem 1 averted.

Then last night as I went to do online check in, I realized a huge problem. My local passport expired in December. At first I felt like such an idiot, why didn't I check to see when it expired? But I took a closer look and saw that it was only issues in June of 2022, so it is totally reasonable to think that it wouldn't have expired and not check it. Turns out that when I legally changed my name her after I got divorced, they issued me a new passport with my new name... But it didn't count as a new passport in terms of the renewal date, and the expiration date on the previous passport carried over to the new passport. I forgave myself for not realizing that. But what should I do?

I have my American passport which is still valid... But by law here you need to fly in and out of the country on your local passport if you are a citizen. I knew there was an option to get an emergency passport at the airport... I just knew it cost a ton of money. More money down the drain. Ugh. Oh well. Again, at least I have options and our trip can still go ahead.

I posted about this on Facebook and people told me that because of a lag in passports still from the corona shutdown time, they are allowing citizens to fly on their foreign passports if they have an expired passport. So I'm going to see if that is possible... But it might not be an option for me because I booked my tickets under my local name which is different than my name on my American passport. I have to look into that at the checkout counter and see if I can change my name on my ticket and how expensive that would be... But that might be cheaper than the emergency passport. We'll see.

We left to the airport 2 hours earlier than originally planned so we can make sure to have enough time for all of this. 

Because I didn't want to have to pay for long term parking and because we have good public transportation to the airport, we left the car at home and are now on the way to the airport. Yay!

Cyprus awaits!

I'll update you on what happens next.


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